Enrique Dans: neither angel nor demon

Enrique Dans has been setting web trends through his bloghas influenced many of us since he began publishing in April 2003. He has been critical of the old models of the cultural industries, and has defended open knowledge to the hilt; he has always been able to understand the paradigm change from protect to share. Enrique has managed to evangelize the masses, despite the fact that, in intimate circles, he confessed his frustration at having his home - the Instituto de Empresa - furnished entirely with Microsoft products.

Dans has just published a book entitled Everything will change. And, at least with the title, I agree completely; moreover, I believe that all has already changedThe consequences are still too early to be seen, let alone analyzed. Historians tend to look back and look for a date representative of the change; a date that is usually prior to the perception of those who lived through it. In this case, I am betting that historians will assign September 11, 2001 as the moment of change, even though it was from 2007 onwards that we really began to feel the consequences.

Returning to Enrique Dans, and to the title of this post, it turns out that his book is not consistent, either in form or in substance, with what it has been proclaiming for seven years. In the form because he has protected the digital version of his book with DRM. And basically because the ideas he puts forward contradict previous thesis and confirm that the free model is bad business.

Internal consistency is the seven's test of a film, a book or a strategic plan; but, above all, it is the confirmation of a great character. And there are few people with great character, very few, and every day there will be fewer. Let me explain: Enrique Dans has been publishing one line of thought for years and now publishes another; the constant is the word publish. If he had not widely disseminated his ideas, very few would have noticed this inconsistency. And now more and more is being published, so it is easier and easier to contradict oneself. So I don't see Dans as a demon, just as I didn't see him as an angel before; he's just a person, like you and me.

Photo extracted from Blog by Enrique Dans


17 responses to "Enrique Dans: neither angel nor demon”

  1. Javier, let me respectfully tell you that you are wrong. One, at no time have I protected my book with DRM. I simply put it on iTunes, without adding any restrictions. If I put it for Kindle, it would also carry Amazon's DRM without my being able to avoid it, and without agreeing to it, but I prefer that to not offering it through that channel. At no time have I added any DRM, although it can be done, to protect my content. See the response from the application developer:

    "Regarding DRM, we don't have it. We don't pay DRM to anyone, effectively, and, at most, what could happen is that Apple would pay for it with the percentage that they take but it doesn't appear anywhere that this is the case so as far as we know they don't do it either. "

    That's the whole truth. It doesn't have any DRM that we have wanted to put on it, there are simply some channel characteristics, as it happens in Kindle. If it's up to us, it won't have any DRM.

    As for free, at no time have I said that it is bad business. I am saying that my publisher would bet less on the book if, as soon as it came out, I posted it for free on my site, and that a lower stake means less distribution and therefore lower sales. At no time have I implied free digital distribution with lower sales, other than through the link of the bet with the publisher. Things, Javier, have to be changed from within. It's like the idiots who criticize me for writing in print newspapers: if I don't write in print, I don't get read by those who don't understand that things are going to change. It's the same here: if I don't work with a publisher, the biggest publisher, and I have the opportunity to prove to them in a reliable way that things are changing, it will be much more difficult for them to change. Anyone can upload my book, anyone can download it, and I think it's perfect, there you have coherence.

    I hope I have clarified the subject for you. Best regards,


  2. Thanks for the clarification Enrique, sorry for the inaccuracy.

  3. Luis Casas Luengo Avatar
    Luis Casas Luengo

    With Dans' comment, it is clear that the prevailing business model is distribution with exclusive exploitation of copyright. As long as these models do not change, there is no other option for an author but to accept the conditions. So it is not a model in favor of the author, but in favor of the publishers. That is the way it is.
    Something is changing: Belén Gopegui publishes in a large publishing house with partial or total reproduction permissions for private use.

  4. Enrique is a born manipulator, it is clear to me with this comment, Enrique has not put the traditional DRM, he has put something worse, he has limited by software the copy/download/sharing to 0 copies without DRM, very clever, so I could say that there is no DRM, better would have been with DRM that at least allows you to make copies.

    Enrique's anti-copy system does not allow you to make even 1 copy outside the iphone, you pay 13€ to have the book only on the iphone praying that it does not break or change your mobile, if you want another digital version you must pay again, incredible but true.

    The software copy limitation applied by Enrique and his publisher in the app, should not be understood only as a limitation to share but to be able to read the book wherever you want not only in the iphone, since it is paid 13 euracos at least that I have it and it is not only property of the iphone.

    This decision contradicts what Enrique wrote in his blog:
    "we opposed it (Anti-Copy System), because it restricted our possibilities to use the products we had paid for."
    link: http://www.enriquedans.com/2009/01/drm-quien-debe-pagar-los-platos-rotos.html

    So Enrique does not object anymore, and he who knows perfectly well the anti-copy feature of his app, has the nerve to comment manipulating with the developer's message. I find it a very disappointing attitude.

    By the way, Amazon now allows DRM-free publishing.

    On the other hand I don't understand how in this comment Enrique says:

    "At no time have I ever implied free digital distribution with lower sales."

    Are we crazy? But you wrote this:
    "the collateral effect of giving the book away would be a decrease in sales."

    So what were you talking about here?

    And of course, not to mention that he called intermediaries such as his publishing house parasites, and that they no longer made sense in today's economy, of course, now he seems to defend himself by saying that it only makes sense if you want to reach all corners, and what do you think creators want? to reach only a minority?

    And things have already changed, several authors have already published using the free model that Enrique has not used in any sense even though he said it was the only model for the Internet.

    Anyway, I won't write any more because I already made the post for that.

    As easy as it is to tell the truth: "I was wrong" is difficult but if you practice in front of the mirror when you get up or before going to sleep, you will finally get it and even if you don't think it will benefit you, people will realize that there is a human behind your face, it will give you humanity.

  5. Excellent post, Javier, I agree with you from the title itself. Dans, as you say, is neither angel nor demon, and plays a role that I think is more than interesting in the "technological indoctrination" of managers and other "non-freaks". Therefore, and although my vision is often quite distant from yours, despite coinciding in the background, I believe that most of the criticisms that have been poured on Dans in the past are not justified.
    Now, with the DRM issue I think he maintains an inconsistency, because while Dans comments that DRM on the iPhone is a restriction of the channel, he had many more options to see his book published for the iPhone. If he had chosen to publish a regular eBook (for example in ePub format), it could be read both on iPhone and on many other devices, but that decision would force the publisher to make the decision of whether to put "explicit" DRM on the eBook or not (I'm sure the publisher would want it that way), while encapsulating it in an iPhone application allows them to put DRM "implicitly".
    With the "cane" that Dans has used against DRM in the past, it is not coherent to encapsulate his book in an application with DRM, especially when there are many more flexible options that allow him to reach a larger market. If you told me that first he would release the eBook without DRM and then, only for those who prefer it that way, he would release the application encapsulating the book for iPhone, I would see it as more coherent.
    Now, as you say, Dans is just another person, and he has all the right in the world to publish his book with or without DRM, for free and for 1000 euros, to be guided by his publisher or to fight for a set of basic principles. That said, when he writes again on his blog about DRM I will read his post with very different eyes.

  6. @joanplanas:

    Hello Joan,

    I don't know if you are aware, but Enrique's book is licensed under Creative Commons, allowing free copying and distribution.

    Moreover, I don't know if you are aware, but this is the first time that the publisher that has published the book allows licensing in this way. It comments on it in the last paragraph of this post:

    About the iPhone application, this restriction is imposed by Apple itself and is insurmountable, although I think that in this case it is irrelevant that an application prevents copying, when its content is freely distributable.

    By the way, the book is now publicly available online:

    Best regards.

  7. @nkm

    I don't know if you are aware that I have already commented on what you are saying in my post which is precisely linked in the post where we are commenting and that the topic is not about CC but about the contradictions of edans, with a free model, intermediaries that I said are parasites and DRM.

    Moreover, I don't know if you are aware that this is not the first publisher to license in CC and that the way they have done it is anecdotal, in my post I comment why.

    about the iphone application I see that you are not aware, I'm not talking about the DRM of the app, one thing is the app and the other the content, and that the content can not be copied, shared or downloaded to the computer is not imposed by apple, on the contrary apple gives you the tools to do so.

    the book is available on the net with poor quality, making a person who has paid waste his time in scanning it and putting it on the internet, which is precisely what E.Dans has also criticized:

    "which pushed many customers to reject official channels in favor of unofficial ones " e-dans

    "We opposed it (the anti-copy system) because it restricted our ability to use the products we had paid for." says e.dans
    info: http://elteleoperador.blogspot.com/2010/03/enrique-dans-tiene-una-bicicleta.html

    a greeting

  8. [...] I am going to give my opinion on these articles, both Joan Planas and Javier Cuervo give their opinion (one more critical, the other more neutral) about Enrique Dans and his book "Todo va [...]

  9. @Joan Planas:

    I did not say that it is the first book published under CC, I said that it is the first book printed under CC license published by that publisher (well, Enrique says so, not me). To me, that the largest publisher in Spain does that, seems to me an important indicator.

    I assure you that I am aware of how the App Store app publishing system works (probably more than you) and Apple does not give you any facility to move data between iPhone and computer, on the contrary, it makes it difficult. In fact, it recently forced the developers of Stanza (a free ebook reader) to remove the option to transfer books directly from the app, though of course I guess you're aware of that.


    There are open source applications in the App Store (WordPress, for example), also protected by DRM and I have not seen ANYONE criticizing their developers for publishing them there. Simply because the intentions of their developers are already clear by checking the license under which they have published it.

    I agree with you that choosing the App Store as one of the first means to distribute the book digitally has not been the right move (especially because it has given his detractors the opportunity to criticize him), but if he wants to make money with the book it seems to me a perfectly logical move, ignoring that distribution platform right now would be stupid. Besides who buys from the App Store is already aware (or should be) of the restrictions Apple imposes on its apps.

    If you read this post, in it Enrique says that the ePub version will be for eBooks will be available in about a month, if at that time he releases it with DRM I will give you all the reason, until then I'm sorry but you are wrong.


    As far as I know Enrique has not stopped opposing DRM, nor p2p, nor net neutrality. He didn't hesitate to buy a Kindle and in his day he bought DRM protected music on iTunes. Just because he opposes it doesn't mean he has to boycott it, it affects him as it affects you or me, now both as an author and as a consumer.

    About choosing a traditional publisher to publish your book, I am convinced that one of the main reasons is to reach a certain type of audience, which is precisely the one that can change things. This type of audience will not read a text of more than two paragraphs if it is not delivered to them printed on paper (even the content of a blog, I assure you) and they will not read a book that is not printed, bound and published by a recognized publishing house.

    But hey, the book (and even his blog) is published under CC license and for starters that's already a hell of a lot more than what most people do for any kind of content whether it's music, video or editorial, both digital and print.

    Best regards.

  10. @nkm
    read my post that I argue because we are here talking about enrique that has nothing to do with whether or not someone can make money or if they put cc or copyright.

    on the other hand what you say about the app, you are wrong, one thing is that developers do not use well the tools that apple gives, because I have several apps where you can connect via wifi to your computer and copy files to your computer or iphone without problems and fully permitted by apple, besides being able to send by email, to connect to other storage services, etc.. Or just buy the app but we will send you a link to download the book to read on other devices.

    You have not focused on the subject, you are talking about something that we do not discuss, if someone wants to make money, let them do it, if they want to put CC then fine, let it be a big publisher, what nonsense, if it does not work nothing will happen to them, on the other hand if a small one does it, two balls they have that if it does not work they will crash.

    but I repeat this is not the topic, read my post although Javier's post makes it quite clear.

  11. @Javier: As you say you put an "imprecision", but the message is clearly understood, I would only change the phrase "In the form because he has protected the digital version of his book with DRM." for something like: "In the form because he has only distributed his book in the channels that make it impossible to have free access to a CC licensed work".

    @eDans: lately you use a lot of insults (in this case: "idiots") to people who show their opinion (whatever it is, something you have always defended), don't be surprised if they insult you too (for example I have read things like "mercenary" for this topic).

    @JoseK: this time your opinion has become clearer to me 😉.

    Me, my only opinion is that if another person of those who defend the ideals that @eDans "defends" had published a work as he has done, Enrique would have put him to parry in his blog. I think this sums it all up.

    1. Thank you Luis. Receiving criticism is hard, although my post is not exactly violent, I think. I would point out that in the case of Dans there are two aggravating factors: the volume of followers and therefore of criticism, as well as the fact that he is an opinion leader. A leader who has been setting trends to which he is not faithful today, so he must be even tougher.

  12. @Javier: don't worry, each one reaps what he sows. There are many topics from which your blog lived that from now on should have no place (and I assume that "popularly" they will not have any place, except to create flames and troll).

    Anyway, seeing how people do things, I wouldn't be surprised if this book movement was something along the lines of "people talking about a product is good, even if they talk bad" that fits in with "reaching the widest possible audience" xDDDDDD

  13. I insist; whoever buys your book would do so even if it were available for free on the net (pdf, ebook...). Book readers do not read from the monitor. The one who reads from the monitor is the one who cannot afford to buy it. Possibly because they are paying in installments for the PC, among other things. Internet makes it possible for us to skip all the intermediaries that make products more expensive. It also makes it possible to read "good" and "not so good" authors. For now, this possibility is persecuted and I have always thought that you, Enrique, advocated decriminalizing it. Do you think you will sell more books because you are published by Planeta? I really don't think so. My hopes for you were not based on your being an expert on the subject; there are hundreds. It was based on your quality as a media man...well connected, with possibilities to exert pressure in the face of injustices such as the Sinde law. But I see that your facts contradict the image I had of you. It is not enough with the CC license. So you only decriminalize copying but you don't favor CULTURE FOR ALL through the net. Distributing them through Apple (exclusively) is the confirmation that you are not what you seemed. This I say to you, need not bother you as it simply shows my disappointment (and that of many others) that we were wrong about you. Now, I do not believe that you represent before the Ministry or in any other forum, all those people you thought you represented. When you comment that you have not been called to discuss the final result of the Sinde Law... in fact there was no need... at the Minister's table there were already people who thought and acted like you.

  14. The reader's own responsibility not to have on paper that which he does not consider essential to collaborate with nature would lead to a greater use of reading on monitors. But, yes, there would be works that we would always like to have in the library or that we would like to read in the subway, the train, the plane, the bed or the sofa (which are the majority of those that cause the pleasure of reading). It is different to read unpublished high literature than a collection of articles, lectures or master classes...already published. For many readers, it is enough to glance at a few pages to glimpse the quality of a work and decide whether it deserves the pleasure of relaxed reading or viewing on a monitor. Likewise, people decide to attend a concert or live performance where they share tastes, experiences and even make history in a social event, or it is enough to listen to the concert on a player. Players help us to keep up to date with musical trends and to discover authors that fill us. Then there are our preferences and our economic possibilities to decide who we want to listen to with quality, anywhere or live. There are people who, after watching a movie on video, do not rest until they see it on the big screen. If we could only read, listen and watch what we could afford or what we could fit in our schedule, our perception of reality... of current affairs would be tremendously biased. The human desire not to miss out on what is going on around us is...too expensive. It would only be enough to do an honesty exercise to verify that most of the authors who publish and sell copies have very often used non-legal software...look at your PCs! Enrique's case is particularly easy to understand. He does not make a living from selling books; the thoughts in his book have already been formulated by him on previous occasions and published assiduously in classes, conferences and articles that he has already charged as part of his daily work. But he joins the bandwagon of living from what he has already worked on...from what is canned.

  15. If the great authors had obtained a perennial economic profit from their great works, we would most probably have missed a great part of them. If Mozart had made a fortune with his first pieces...! As that did not happen... he had to work all his life, providing us with a unique and sublime work. Authors...I encourage you to work tirelessly...your audience will surely provide you with the possibility to continue doing your work.

  16. I will digress... You can be sure that when electronic components replace the traditional, our problems will be totally different. When there will be no paper books, publishers and the SGAE will be electric and component companies. Don't you believe it... buy some batteries. Can you imagine the cataclysm? The "pirates" will then have to reinvent the printing press because ink cartridges will only be exchanged for gold and will be managed, for life, by the heirs of Teddy Bautista and Ramoncín. Drinking water will only exist bottled with the EDANS brand, but it will not be denied to anyone who pays for it and they will be able to mix it and use it as they wish. The pirates will return to goatskin papyrus...because the SINDE paper mill owns all the rights to the trees and the cellulose. But at least the pirates will be able to communicate by means of the TAM TAM because the rights over its use returned to society after the bloody demonstrations of October.

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